This business establishment has been mentioned in an earlier
article but it is my wish to share some of my recollections of the
neighborhood store that served the area where I grew up.
Elmer Eaton had lost an arm in an industrial accident at
the Broadalbin Knitting Mill and he and his father opened the market under
the name of John Eaton and Son in 1923. Elmer's wife, Julia Seeley
Eaton, was also active in the operation of this business. John Eaton
died in 1941 leaving Elmer the sole owner.
Eaton's store, as it was so often referred to, was at
the top of the hill on Saratoga Avenue. The location meant that there
was no need to cross any streets or highways to get to the store from my
parents' home. The location was a factor in gaining permission to venture
to the store without adult supervision at a younger age than might have
It is hard to explain the thrill that a young boy had in
the 1930s when he made his way up the hill to the store clutching a penny
two to spend on some candy. And, if you were lucky enough to obtain a
nickel, you could buy a cold bottle of soda or some ice cream. The
soda case was filled with different flavors of soda, standing in cold
water, with chunks of ice floating around. They were all in glass
bottles which we drank from, without a straw and, I suppose, it was due to
parental training, but we never littered with the empties, returning them
to the store.
In addition to food stuffs and other items normally found
in a grocery store, Elmer sold Texaco gasoline from the single pump out in
front of the store. He also had a barn adjacent to the store where he
stored and sold seed, feed, fertilizer, etc. It was probably due to
Elmer having one arm that he had an older man named John Deming who hung
around there and loaded such items into customers' trucks, wagons or cars.
John appeared, to a young fellow like myself, to be the
type of person you tried to keep some distance from, until one day while on
my way to the store he intercepted me inquiring how much money I had.
In a rather frightened way I told him, to which he responded, "here are
a few more pennies to add to what you have." John didn't appear
like that same strange person to me thereafter!
Eaton's store had a selection of items not always
available today such as those small boxes of Cracker Jacks with a toy inside
that seemed like a treasure, little wax bottles containing colored and
flavored water, candy cigarettes, Beech-Nut Beechies, Blackjack gum and so
All trips to the store were not for pleasure,
however. I recall Father sending me up the hill with my red wagon to
pick up a bag of fertilizer for the garden. The trip down the hill
required attention to duty as the wagon wanted to go faster than I
did. The trip was none the less without incident!
Another matter of note when visiting Eaton's Store was
the large black three-legged chow dog. The appearance of this animal
would tend to cause a youngster to maintain distance. I do not recall
that the dog was mean, but it certainly did look different.
With the gasoline and other products for sale, you might
look at Eaton's Grocery as an early version of the convenience stores we
see so plentifully today.